Vail Natural Path: Wipe away allergies with natural alternatives |

Vail Natural Path: Wipe away allergies with natural alternatives

Eliza KlearmanA Natural Path

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -Hay fever is caused by an immune response to circulating allergens. The allergens irritate the mucus membranes and cause them to swell and itch, sending most people to the drugstore for some relief.If you don’t like medications, they don’t work for you or you are tired of simply masking your symptoms rather than curing the underlying problem, you will be interested to know that there are many alternatives to allergy medications. Herbal medicines, homeopathy, vitamins, a carefully planned diet, acupuncture and a little hydrotherapy can do wonders for the sufferer without ever experiencing negative side effects. Herbs have been used for centuries to help with allergic symptoms. Most popular for allergies are echinacea, goldenseal, perilla seeds, feverfew, ephedra and nettles. Bee pollen and eating honey from bees that pollinate the flowers in our region can be beneficial as well. We have evidence that the most effective herb for allergies is butterbur. According to research in both the British Medical Journal and Clinical & Experimental Allergy, butterbur is equally effective as Allegra and Zyrtec but has no side effects. If you do try butterbur, make sure you use one that has no pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are potentially toxic but have been removed for safety by conscientious companies.Homeopathic remedies, usually formulated in combinations for your specific region, are also helpful for some. These remedies work by providing miniscule doses of the substances you are reacting to, acting as a vaccine of sorts to desensitize you to those allergens. Nutritionally, there are many beneficial supplements to take to help your allergies. Vitamin C and quercetin are part of a family called bioflavonoids that help with allergies by strengthening the immune system and reducing the amount of histamine released from the cells. Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple, is also helpful in treating allergies. Bromelain is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the amount of swelling in the sinuses and nasal passages.Acupuncture can soothe annoying symptoms at the height of suffering, but more importantly, it can help you go through allergy season with minimal to no symptoms at all. Starting treatment several weeks prior to the onset of your symptoms is ideal. Acupuncture modulates the immune system, calms the adrenal glands and decreases inflammation, all of which contribute to you having symptoms in the first place. Finally nasal irrigation, in which you use a neti pot filled with warm saline solution to rinsed the sinuses, is immensely beneficial for allergies and all things sinus related. This procedure flushes the allergens out of the nose and rinses them away from the tissues they are upsetting. This treatment greatly reduces the swelling and inflammation caused by allergies and can provide great relief. When it comes to allergies this season, remember that the pharmacy is not the only place to seek relief. There are so many effective alternatives to drugs that can actually heal your body, help you be symptom free and improve your overall well-being. Seek out a knowledgeable professional in the natural medicine world and you will be on your way to wiping out your allergies for good.Eliza Klearman is a naturopath and acupuncturist practicing in Eagle. She provides holistic primary care for the whole family. For more information call 970-328-5678 or email

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